• IDP Sleepers: Preseason Week 3 Edition

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    For 2022, I will be coming to you with weekly IDP Sleepers to help you set your lineups. Here's a little taste of what to expect. First up, two defensive tackles for your DT required leagues.

    Preseason Week 3 IDP Sleepers

    1. Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Vita Vea is the first of two sleepers and was the 12th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has been productive when not on the injury list. Vea hurt his calf in training camp in his rookie year and missed the season's first three games.

    He played all 16 games in 2019, but in 2020, broke his ankle in Week 5, and missed the rest of the year. Last year, Vea missed just one game due to an MCL sprain.

    Vea started eight games in his rookie year, averaging 53% to 85% of the defensive snaps. In those games, he produced 27 tackles (20 solos), 4 tackles for a loss, 3 QB hits, and 2 sacks. Defensive tackles rarely produce anything substantial on the field during their rookie year, so it is a big learning curve from college to the pros.

    Ndamukong Suh joins the Buccaneers in 2019

    In 2019, Ndamukong Suh joined the Buccaneers and, along with Vea, made for a very powerful interior of the defensive line. Vea had his defensive snaps percentages on starts drop slightly. He averaged anywhere from 49% of the snaps to 80% of the snaps. Vea delivered with 35 tackles (19 solos), 4 tackles for a loss, 12 QB hits, 2.5 sacks, and 3 passes defended.

    For Vea, 2020 was a wasted year as he broke his ankle in just week five. It looked like it would be a big year for him too. In his four full games, Vea had two games where he topped 83% of the defensive snaps. He had 10 tackles (6 solos), 3 tackles for a loss, 3 QB hits, and 2 sacks. The third year is usually the breakout year for defensive linemen, and Vea seemed to follow that trend.

    Vea's best year to date was 2021. He only missed one game and produced a very nice 33 tackles (22 solos), 5 tackles for a loss, 12 QB hits, 4 sacks, 3 passes defended, and his first fumble recovery. This earned Vea his first Pro Bowl appearance and a contract extension of 4 years, $71,000,000.

    Vita Vea Will be a top 12 Defensive Tackle in 2022.

    The Buccaneers have spoken loud and clear on who their top defensive tackle is for their future. Vea is signed thru 2026 with a huge contract. Ndamukong Suh will not be returning to the Buccaneers. They instead signed Akiem Hicks to take the vacant spot, but he is listed at defensive end on MFL.

    Take into consideration the 27-44 tackles per year that Suh is leaving behind. I can see Vea play 70% to 85% of the defensive snaps and deliver 40-50 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 6-8 sacks, 4-8 pass defended, and a couple of fumble recoveries. He is ranked #35 in DT rankings on IDPGuys.org, and I find that a crime. Do your team a favor and roster one of my many sleepers, Vita Vea.

    2. Davon Godchaux, New England Patriots

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    Godchaux was a fifth-round selection by the Miami Dolphins in 2017. This 6' 3" 311 lb defensive tackle has been solid since his rookie year. He played his first four years with the Dolphins. Godchaux's final year was cut very short by a torn bicep in just the fifth game of the season.

    The Dolphins then put their faith in Raekwon Davis and Christian Wilkins and let Godchaux enter free agency. A team that went against twice a year, the New England Patriots, signed him for 2021.

    Godchaux played in 15 games and started 5 of them as a rookie. He tallied a very respectful 40 tackles (26 solos), 1 tackle for a loss, 3 QB hits, 1 pass defended, and a forced fumble. In his 2nd year, Godchaux started all 16 games and produced 48 tackles (31 solos), 6 tackles for a loss, 4 QB hits, and a sack.

    Godchaux Has an Impressive Third-year breakout.

    As is with most defensive linemen, the third year of Godchaux's career was his best to date. He delivered with 75 tackles (33 solos), 4 tackles for a loss, 7 QB hits, 2 sacks, and 1 pass defended. This was good enough for Godchaux to be the fifth-ranked scoring DT in my leagues. He beat the likes of Kenny Clark, Javon Hargrave, and Suh.

    Godchaux was ready to explode for his fourth year and get that contract extension. His body said, not so fast, and he tore his bicep and ended the year starting all five games he played in. Godchaux averaged 3.2 tackles (2 solos) a game, which put him on pace for another 50+ tackle season.

    New England Patriots Sign Godchaux in 2021.

    Godchaux signed with the Patriots for 2022 and immediately became an integral part of their rotation in starting 16 games. He took advantage of his opportunity and produced 65 tackles (32 solos), 2 tackles for a loss, 5 QB hits, 1 sack, and a forced fumble. His 2022 season earned him a two-year, $20.8 million dollar extension and the compliment from his head coach of being one of the top DTs in the NFL.

    After playing in 69% or less of the defensive snaps during his breakout year of 2019, Godchaux played in 78% of the defensive snaps or higher in three of his final six games last year. The Patriots have him set as a vital part of their defense. They gave him the contract to prove this.

    He has earned the scoring rank of #5 and #11 of DTs in the last two years he played the full season. How is he ranked #32 on the IDPGuys.org rankings for 2022? He is not flashy with the sacks and pressures up the middle. Godchaux is a very sure tackler that will stop runners in their tracks. He is a tackling machine that needs to be on your roster. The second of my sleepers will be a top 12 DT again for 2022.

    Thank you for checking out my Preseason Week 3 IDP Sleepers article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please consider becoming a subscriber!

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